It's been a crazy 2017 for Jordan Cardy and co., and there's no sign they're slowing down.
It's been a hell of a year for Jordan Cardy, better known as Rat Boy, and his band. En route to Newcastle, where the band are set to support Liam Gallagher, they're just as excitable as usual. "We're on our way to a rock concert," Jordan says over the phone, putting on a posh voice. "Supporting Liam Gallagher in Newcastle," he continues, adopting a mock-geordie accent.
"We're doing the first show with Liam tonight; then we go to America for a week to record, then back to the UK for the rest of Liam's tour," Jordan explains, this time in his normal voice. "We're pretty fucking nervous! We aren't too sure what the fans are gonna think of us."
One of the band says something inaudible, and Jordan's tone changes. "Oh shit, apparently this is the biggest venue we've played in the UK ever, that's fucking scary! Imagine 11,000 people bottling you, just imagine that." He takes stock for a second, before adding: "They'll only have plastic cups, so it'll be fine. It's all gonna be alright."
"I've seen Liam at Electric Brixton and Reading Festival; we're really excited for the tour," he enthuses. "We're gonna see him every night. I don't mind making tea either; I can do that," he adds, referencing the video clip of Liam complaining that nobody makes him drinks anymore.
Talk turns to 2017, and Jordan reflects on the whirlwind year the band have had. "It's been really good fun; we've all really enjoyed it. Done a few tours, Reading Festival was a massive highlight. It was our first time on the Main Stage, and we were scared nobody would turn up! Turns out it was absolutely packed, and the crowd was mad."
"Glastonbury, Neighbourhood, The Great Escape..." he starts listing off festivals they've played this year. "We did quite a few, but not nearly as many as last year. How many gigs did we do last year?" He shouts to the rest of the van.
"OK, I'm being told it was 200, but that can't be right. We did like 38 festivals, as well as three tours, it was pretty crazy, and it made it really hard to get the album finished. We didn't want to book in as much this year so we could focus on getting the album out, that was our goal for the first half of 2017."
"I think we've been happy with how it [the album] turned out in the end," he says, thoughtfully. "The main thing with the first one was that a load of people that I really wanted to work with, whose music I've always listened to, they've heard it, and now they wanna work with us! It's crazy how many doors it's opened; we've been going over to LA to work with people that I never thought we'd get to work with. It's great."
After the album's release, Rat Boy embarked on a nationwide string of in-store performances and signings. "They were really cool; people were standing and singing all of the words... It made me feel a bit like Billy Bragg, actually!" he laughs. "It was really cool meeting everyone afterwards too, excited about the album and wearing all of the merch. It was like wow, they must really be into it.
"I remember when I was younger, me and my friends would all go and see one band and follow them around a bit, and these guys had a similar sort of vibe, which was so nice." There's a pause at the end of the phone, before Jordan explains. "Sorry, it's just a bit hard to concentrate at the moment, Noah [Rat Boy's drummer] is dry humping the seat and staring at me." Sometimes being cooped up in a tour van does strange things to people...
"What else are we doing?" Jordan asks, back on track. "We're really into writing the second album at the moment. Song-wise we're about half of the way there, just in ideas, getting people involved, that sort of thing. We haven't got anything produced yet, but we're thinking mid-next year as a release date. That's the plan at the moment anyway.
"The direction of this one is a bit different," he continues. "There's a load more hip-hop influences in it. Lots of the sounds on the first one were almost throwback references, all those old drum breaks and stuff like that. This one feels a bit more clear, and everything fits together a bit more. I guess because the first one took two years or something, some of the ideas were a bit all over the place. This is gonna be a more complete piece of work, much less messy." The album seems to be the one subject Jordan doesn't make jokes about, and you can tell he's put a lot of thought into his next project.
"We've got a load of stuff happening with SCUM too, which is more of a clothing brand, separate to Rat Boy. The clothing is either coming out, or it's just come out, I'm not sure. Is it October or November? Shit, I don't even know! Anyway, stuff is coming out at some point. We're trying to make a skate company out of it and put a scene together, but it's a long process. I've really got to focus on that for a while to properly start it up, but it's hard finding the time. I want to film a video for it, and some other stuff too."
With so much going on, it's no wonder he forgets what day it is. Does he ever feel like there are things he could've done differently? "I dunno really," he hesitates, before laughing: "No regrets... YOLO!" Talk turns to 2018, and there are a few things the band are working towards. "We really wanna do some stuff in the US. It's hard because we have to get work visas and all that shit, but we've decided we're gonna do it. We've been going out there to record, but we haven't played any tours there yet. There's this mad skate scene out there, that's part of the reason we wanna tour so much."
"We have got a UK tour coming up," Jordan says, yet another thing the band are currently involved in. "We're playing Brixton, which is incredible, we've never played that as a headline gig before, so we're really excited. We're really gonna make it one to remember."
There's some noise in the background, followed by laughter. "I really need a piss, and Noah needs a shit, so we're gonna have to go," Jordan says. "Sorry, I can't hold on anymore!" It's not exactly an orthodox way to end a phone call, but Rat Boy and his band aren't very orthodox in general. It's incredible that they manage to spin so many plates at once, and still come across like a bunch of schoolmates having a laugh. They didn't get bottled when they opened for Liam Gallagher either, which means they must be doing something right.
Taken from the December/January issue of Dork, out now.